Pittsburgh native Stephen Chbosky is coming to Carnegie Hall Monday, October 7 at 7:00 PM. The writer is best known for his debut novel, Perks of Being a Wallflower and its film adaptation (which was filmed in Pittsburgh), for which he wrote the screenplay. He also directed the film adaptation of the popular children's book, Wonder, starring Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, and Julia Roberts, and contributed to the screenplay for Disney's live action Beauty and the Beast with Emma Watson. He is currently promoting his second novel, Imaginary Friend. After the lecture, there will be a Q&A and book signing.
"Christopher is seven years old.
Christopher is the new kid in town.
Christopher has an imaginary friend.
We can swallow our fear or let our fear swallow us.
Single mother Kate Reese is on the run. Determined to improve life for her and her son, Christopher, she flees an abusive relationship in the middle of the night with her child. Together, they find themselves drawn to the tight-knit community of Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. It's as far off the beaten track as they can get. Just one highway in, one highway out.
At first, it seems like the perfect place to finally settle down. Then Christopher vanishes. For six awful days, no one can find him. Until Christopher emerges from the woods at the edge of town, unharmed but not unchanged. He returns with a voice in his head only he can hear, with a mission only he can complete: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas, or his mother and everyone in the town will never be the same again.
Twenty years ago, Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower made readers everywhere feel infinite. Now, Chbosky has returned with an epic work of literary horror, years in the making, whose grand scale and rich emotion redefine the genre. Read it with the lights on." (Amazon Synopsis)
Buy Imaginary Friend: https://www.amazon.com/Imaginary-Friend-Stephen-Chbosky/dp/1538731339
How many days do you recall spending alone in bed, doing nothing, in which you felt fulfilled by the time you rolled over to sleep? Aside from maybe a day called off, sick, I can't think of any. I think one of the greatest struggles as an artist is fighting off the desire to do absolutely nothing. It's easy to write it off as laziness but I think a more accurate description would be a creative depression. You don't want to do nothing. It feels like every part of your mind is screaming to get up but the floor feels a thousand miles away. I'm not pressuring anyone's creative habits or saying that anyone who sees Sunday as a day of rest is a slacker. We all need rest days to recover but at what point does relief become an addiction? For me, if I take a single day off, I slide back deep into hibernation from life. It isn't enjoyable. It isn't necessary. My mental muscles aren't repairing themselves; they're just weakening over time lost in the void.
Anecdotal evidence: I realized a few months back that on my rest days from exercise, I would accomplish absolutely nothing. I'm not just letting my body heal. I don't write. I don't study or clean. I find myself sunken into bed, listening to podcasts and eating junk food. I was unhappy with it and changed my habits so that I could exercise seven days a week, just as a defense mechanism from this slothishness. I was never more content. Of course, you can't overwhelm yourself or hurt yourself by going too hard. I'm cautious not to make self-injury out of a good habit. I think that the creative process can be the same way. Even on the days where I'm not adding to my word count, I'm taking notes, toying with structure, or piecing together my next project. I can only remember one instance in the last thirteen years in which I wasn't actively working on something. After finishing my last, I wanted to take a break from writing in order to get my real life in order. That was relieving for about a week before I went crazy. I mean, life is great and I wouldn't change a thing about my life as it stands, but writing is such a huge part of what I love about life. It felt like ending a marriage or a death in the family. Productivity enriched my life.
Even your worst words are a step forward towards your best self. Honest mistakes are lessons worth learning. You'll never be good enough if you never give yourself the chance. As his sometime-advocate, trust me when I say the devil on your shoulder can be seductive, but he doesn't have your best interests in mind. Fear is your enemy. Insecurity is the weight you have to lift. The writer is Atlas, shouldering the weight of the world. Creating a world with your words is a lot of responsibility. I often wonder if this failed artist is a cautionary tale about the dangers of playing God. In many ways, artists are athletes, and we're all on the same team. We spot each other with critique. We should be here to cheer each other on. We're all freaks performing in the same circus. What if Shakespeare decided to sleep his days away? Would the world be the same without Picasso? Is the world as we know it possible without George Lucas? If you waste your potential on nights spent in self-doubt, you're not just letting yourself down, you're letting the team down.
Thanks to Maureen for keeping the company afloat while I squandered my summer feeling sorry for myself.